Other mayoral candidates are “copying” his calls for change at city hall, but don’t have the platform to match, Dan Melanson said Thursday at the official opening of his campaign headquarters on Paris Street.
Melanson is the former president of the Greater Sudbury Taxpayer’s Association, a lobby group that called for leaner and more transparent local government over the last four years. He said mayoral candidates such as Brian Bigger are using the GSTA’s approach in calling for change, but without the solutions Melanson is offering.
“If you’re looking at the total field, and you’re looking for fiscal responsibility, accountability --- all the things I stood for at the GSTA for the last four years, (Bigger) is out there out there copying what I’ve been doing.”
Bigger, who took an unpaid leave of absence from his job as the city’s first auditor general to run for office, called for greater openness at city hall Thursday at a news conference near the city’s new transit garage.
“I believe there is a very strong appetite for change at the city,” he said. “We've been looking for change for the last, perhaps, eight years. Definitely for the last four years. This is the time for change.”
He promised to make public a report from an external auditor on the Greater Sudbury Transit ticket scandal, as well as such things as having full meeting agendas posted online a week ahead of time, unlike the current system, where agendas are posted late in the day the Friday before the meeting date.
“I think we all want a more open government,” Bigger said. “People understand the connection between more open government and accountability.”
But Melanson said Bigger doesn’t seem to have a broader platform.
“Aside from pointing his finger at problems, and saying this is wrong and that’s wrong, and oh what a good job I’ve done in telling you what’s wrong, he hasn’t offered any concrete proposals or programs on how he’s going to change things,” Melanson said.
“I think (Thursday) he was talking about buying new computers for staff to make them more efficient. That’s not much of a platform. My question to Brian Bigger is, where’s the beef? You’ve got lots of flash, but no bang there.
“If voters are looking for someone with ideas on how to actually solves the problems – like the infrastructure deficit, with the roads and whatnot, there’s only one candidate out there who has all that. And that’s me.”
However Bigger has said he only decided to run for mayor this spring, and is still in the process of finalizing his platform before he unveils it in the weeks ahead of the Oct. 27 municipal election.
In addition to Melanson and Bigger, other frontrunners in the race for mayor include former mayor John Rodriguez and Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis.